Some Far North residents could face up to six nights without
power following a massive storm which caused widespread
damage to the electricity network across the upper North
Island this week.
Auckland lines company Vector said crews had managed to get
all but 73 customers restored following Tuesday night's
A couple of smaller outages in the Auckland area had occurred
overnight due to continuing high winds.
Northland Civil Defence spokeswoman Claire Nyberg said power
outages continued to affect sewage systems,
telecommunications and drinking water in some areas.
MetService said a severe weather watch was in place for
Northland, Auckland, Taranaki, Nelson, Marlborough, Buller
and Fiordland due to expected heavy rain and strong northeast
A strong northeast flow was expected to continue over
northern New Zealand until tomorrow morning before easing.
The system was preceded by a strong moist northeast flow
bringing heavy rain to the north and west of the South
The heaviest falls were expected in northern Fiordland,
Westland and western Nelson.
Winds in Northland and northern parts of Auckland were
expected to remain strong until then, with gales in exposed
places and associated wind gusts of around 100km/h.
Northeast gales were likely in exposed parts of Taranaki from
this afternoon through to Saturday afternoon. Winds could
potentially reach severe gale strength, MetService
WeatherWatch spokesman Phillip Duncan said windy weather
would step up again across the upper North Island today as
the final surge of stormy weather moved in.
The strongest winds would be around coastal and rural
Auckland, the Hauraki Gulf, Eastern Waikato and western
Coromandel Peninsula, and lower Northland.
Those winds would be blustery and could make driving tricky
across the ranges and exposed highways, he said.
Auckland could expect a cloudy and mostly dry day with the
exception of a few showers. Gusty nor'easters could reach
gale force in exposed places, gusting to 100km/h, Mr Duncan
Later today those showers were expected to turn to patchy
rain, he said.
Far North lines company Top Energy said around 3600
households in the region remained without power this morning,
down from 6400 at 4pm yesterday.
The majority of affected households were in the north of the
region, supplied from Kaitaia.
A fault remained on a 33,000 volt main feeder line in the
part of the network supplied from Kaitaia which needed to be
repaired before work could start on lower-voltage lines and
feeder lines across the region. Top Energy expected to have
the backbone of the network repaired by nightfall.
Repair crews continued to face difficult conditions. A high
proportion of the region's roads remain blocked by flooding,
and high winds and rain were expected again during the day.
Fallen trees also continued to make access to lines difficult
but Top Energy was working closely with the Far North
District Council and Fulton Hogan to clear them.
"Our lines staff have had to chop trees off roads just so we
can get to the lines," Top Energy CEO Russell Shaw said.
Some of those currently without power faced a fifth or
potentially even a sixth night without it, he said.
"I'm sorry to say that, at this stage, it looks like some
customers may not have electricity until Sunday morning.
"We continue to work flat out. If you still have no power the
important thing for you to know is that we know you're there
and that we'll get to you as soon as humanly possible."
If affected residents were aware of any at-risk or seriously
ill people who were suffering through the lack of power they
should contact emergency services on 111 as soon as possible,
Mr Shaw said.
"Any request for welfare, such as shelter, fresh water or
food should be directed to the Far North District Council
where it will be passed to Civil Defence."